Boris Johnson optimistic about EU trade deal after high-level talks
UK prime minister calls for ‘bit of oomph’ in Brexit negotiations to ensure both sides have good deal before December 31 deadline
Britain hopes to conclude a trade agreement with the EEU by the end of the summer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday after high-level talks with the bloc's leaders.
Downing Street confirmed this month that it would not ask for an extension to the withdrawal agreement, meaning there is now urgency to make a deal before the December 31 deadline.
For almost two hours on Monday, Mr Johnson held talks in a video conference with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
With the coronavirus pandemic adding further difficulty to the stalled negotiations, high-level co-operation will be required to have a deal done by September.
Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen said they would have to “work hard” to ratify a deal before the end of the year.
She said they had “agreed to deliver the best deal” for all citizens.
Mr Johnson was warned that a level playing field was necessary if trade areas such as fishing rights were to be agreed to, meaning Britain would have to abide by EU rules and standards.
He called for a “bit of oomph” in the negotiations on a future relationship and restated the view that Britain “can't leave the EU and remain, somehow, controlled by EU law”.
Meanwhile a former French minister disclosed to the BBC that the EU was preparing for a no-deal scenario.
“We are ready either for an agreement or for a no-deal and we are getting prepared more actively to a no-deal considering the circumstances,” said Nathalie Loiseau, a member of the European Parliament .
A deal has to be agreed to by October so that it could be ratified by the European and British parliaments.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson courted further controversy after he suggested in a newspaper article about Black Lives Matter that he wanted to end “the sense of victimisation”.
Lord Woolley, chairman of the government’s Race Disparity Unit, told The Guardian newspaper: “The use of the word victimisation is an unnecessary distraction and to some will be seen as unhelpful.”
Updated: June 16, 2020 01:33 AM